Fruits, Nuts, and Berries For The South
Most fruit trees require pollination and chilling temperatures from November to mid-February to break dormancy in the spring. Pollination is the process of pollen from one flower being transferred to another flower, required by certain plants and trees. The process of pollination can be by insects, animals, wind, or humans. Most fruit trees need pollination for good fruit set, which occurs when a recommended fruit tree, (pollinator) is planted nearby. A plant or tree starts to go dormant when exposed to chilling temperatures. Chilling temperatures for a plant or tree are when night time temperatures drop to 45°F or below. Chill hours can be described as the number of hours the plant or tree receives temperatures at or below 45°F. Listed below are a few cultivars and pollinators for southern fruit trees, nuts trees, and berry plants.
Apples – All apples require chilling hours and a pollinator depending on the variety. Recommended fertilizers for apple trees is a 10-10-10, or a 10-6-4 that is applied in the spring, summer, and fall. Keep the planted area free from grass 2-5-feet away from the trunk. Listed below are a few cultivars and pollinators for apple trees.
§ Anna - requires a pollinator with another cultivar. Dorsett Golden is a good pollinator for the Anna cultivar. Chilling Hours: 200 – 300.
§ Dorsett Golden - requires a pollinator with another cultivar. The Anna cultivar is a good pollinator for Dorsett Golden. Chilling Hours: 250.
§ Ein Shemer – self-pollinating and very productive, but fruit production increases with another apple tree planted nearby. One can use Anna or Dorsett as a pollinator. Chilling Hours: 200.
§ Fuji – requires a pollinator and tolerates summer heat. Golden Delicious is good for pollination. Chilling Hours: 400 – 600 hours.
§ Gala – requires a pollinator and tolerates summer heat. Golden Delicious can be used a pollinator. Chilling Hours: 600.
§ Golden Delicious or Yellow Delicious – benefits from a pollinator, Red Delicious. Chilling Hours: 600 – 700.
§ Granny Smith – self-pollinating and heat resistant. Chilling Hours – 500 – 600.
§ Red Delicious – benefits from a pollinator, Golden Delicious. Chilling Hours: 900.
Avocado – Avocados are self-pollinating, but fruit production increases with another Avocado tree planted nearby. Avocado trees should be planted in a well-drained area. Keep the planted area free from grass 2 – 5 feet away from the trunk. Fertilize newly planted trees every 2 months for the first year starting when new growth appears after planting. The second year after planting fertilize 3 to 4 times a year ending in October. Use a fertilizer recommended for Citrus, Avocado, and Mango or a 10-6-4 or a 6-4-4. The Haas cultivar is cold hardy and the fruit is an excellent choice for salads and guacamole. The fruit matures on the tree.
Bananas – are heavy feeders and require sufficient amounts of water. Keep the planted area free from grass 2 – 5 feet away from the trunk. Fertilize every month with a fertilizer recommended for Citrus, Avocado, and Mango, or a 10-6-4, or a 6-4-4. Bananas are clumping by nature and keep at least 5 to 6 mature banana stalks. Any new growth or suckers should be removed by cutting down to the soil line. When a banana blooms, it is the flower that forms the fruit. Once the banana produces a flower and fruits that stalk will die. When harvesting bananas, cut the banana bunch off the tree, and then cut the entire banana stalk to the ground. Then, let a new sucker replace the one that was just cut down. One can tell when the bananas are ready to be harvested when the fruits start to turn yellow in color. If, the bananas start to split before harvesting has occurred increase the water times or the amount of water received by the plant.
Blackberry – All blackberries are self-pollinating, will tolerate poor soil, and will produce fruit after the second year of planting. Apply 10-10-10 or 16-16-8 fertilizer blend in early spring and after fruit production is done. The canes produce only once and should be removed and cut down to the ground after harvesting the fruit.
Blueberry – All blueberries are self-pollinating, but will produce more blueberries if pollinated by another variety. Blueberries need an acid soil and one can use Miracle-Gro’s Selection of soil mixes (MG). MG Azalea Soil, or MG Rose Soil or the Humus and Cow Manure Mix. Also, add mulch or pine straw to help with the acidity of the soil. Apply a slow-release Azalea type fertilizer in early spring and summer. The cultivars Tifblue, Climax, Misty, and Legacy are recommended for the south and make excellent choices for the home gardener.
Citrus – All citrus are self-pollinating and requires well-drained soil. Fertilize with a citrus fertilizer such as 12-10-10 and the fertilizer selected should have micro nutrients included. Start fertilizing new planted trees when new growth starts. For older citrus trees, fertilized 4 times a year, but no later than October for the last application. Keep the planted area free from grass 2 – 5 feet away from the trunk and do not use mulch because the mulch will cause fungus problems, but use pine straw instead. Fruit ripens on the tree.
Fig – All figs are self-pollinating. Easy to low maintenance and produce heavy amounts of fruit. Fertilize with an 8-8-8 or a 10-10-10.
Grapes – All grapes are self-pollinating. Fertilize in the spring and early summer the first two years after planting with a 10-10-10 or a 12-12-12. Grapes are not heavy feeders.
Mango – All mangos are self-pollinating and are very sensitive to temperatures that drop below 40° F for extended periods of time. When temperatures drop below 40° F there will be damaged to the flower and temperatures that drop to 30° F or below will damage the trunk of young trees. Wrap the tree with a blanket or frost cloth to prevent trunk damage. Mango trees should be planted in an area that has good drainage. For newly planted trees fertilize every month with a citrus fertilizer plus minors, or 6-6-6, or 8-8-8, or 10-10-10 plus minors ending in October. Thereafter, fertilize 3 to 4 times a year. The fruit matures in 3 to 6 months and ripens on the tree.
Peaches – All peaches are self-pollinating, but benefit from another variety to be more productive. Recommended fertilizer for peaches is a balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8, or 10-10-10, or 13-13-13.
§ FlorDa King - Self-pollinating, fruit production increases with another peach planted nearby. Chill hours – 300 to 400. A highly recommended cultivar for south Texas or USDA zone 9.
§ FlorDa Prince – Self-pollinating. One of the best peaches for south Texas or USDA zone 9. Chill hours – 150.
§ June Gold – Self–pollinating. Chill hours – 450 – 600.
§ Red Skin – Self-pollinating. Chill hours – 750.
§ Sam Houston – Self-pollinating, fruit production increases with another peach planted nearby. Chill hours – 500.
Pecans – All pecans require a pollinator of a different variety for better nut yield. Fertilize with a 12-10-10 three to four times a year.
Plums – Most plums require a pollinator. For pollinators use a different variety or plant another plum tree nearby. Plum trees require 400 to 500 chill hours. Recommended fertilizers for plum trees are a 10-10-10, or a 10-6-4 in the spring, summer, and fall.
§ Bruce Plum – requires a pollinator, Santa Rosa is a good pollinator. Chill hours – 500 hours.
§ Santa Rosa Plum – is self-pollinating, but fruit production increases with another plum tree planted nearby. Chill hours – 400 hours.
Pomegranate – All pomegranates are self-pollinating. Wonderful variety very productive. Apply a balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8 in March and October.
General Care Instructions: For Fruits, Nuts and Berries Plants please recommend the following ingredients.
§ Choose an area for planting that is sunny or will receive at least 6 hours of sun a day.
§ The planting area should be well-drained, except for Bananas.
§ The planting hole should have a 50/50 mix of 50 percent original soil from the planting hole to 50 percent soil amendments. The reason for a 50/50 mix is that when the planting hole does not contain some of the original soil mixed with the soil amendments the roots do not grow outside the original planting hole.
§ After planting water the original root ball of the plant and the planting hole, thoroughly. After watering apply a root stimulator to reduce planting stress, and apply once a week for the first month, thereafter, once a month for the first six months.
§ Apply tree stakes, at least 3, to the tree for faster root establishment.
§ Apply mulch one to three inches deep, except on Citrus Trees, and apply pine straw instead.
§ Newly planted trees should be watered two to three times a week for the first month, after the first month water once a week until established.
§ Keep newly planted Fruit Trees, Nut Trees, and Berry plant should be free from grass at least two to five feet away from the original root ball.
©Cheryl Ann Meola 2013. Texas Certified Nursery Professional (TCNP) #1282.